ISLAMABAD: The government is arranging a briefing for lawmakers on security matters with special reference to the emerging Afghanistan situation on July 1 in the Parliament House.
“It will be an in-camera briefing to be given by military officials on internal and external security matters,” Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan told Dawn on Monday. The heads of all parliamentary parties both in the National Assembly and Senate had been invited to the briefing, he added.
A source at the National Assembly Secretariat said that in fact it was a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security headed by Speaker Asad Qaiser and comprising Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Azam Swati, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Asad Mehmood, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Khalid Hassan Magsi, Akhtar Mengal, Ghaus Bux Mahar, Amir Haider Khan, Nawabzada Shazain Bugti, Shahzad Waseem, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Sherry Rehman, Azam Nazir Tarar, Anwarul Haq Kakar, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Syed Faisal Sabzwari, Tahir Bizenjo, Mushtaq Ahmed, Hidayat Ullah Khan, Sardar Muhammad Shafir Tareen, Kamil Ali Agha, Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Muhammad Qasim and Dilawar Khan.
Shehbaz, Bilawal and heads of all parliamentary parties invited to July 1 meeting
Some 16 legislators have been especially invited to the briefing. They are: Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, Pervez Khattak, Asad Umar, Shafqat Mahmood, Shireen Mazari, Babar Awan, Ali Muhammd Khan, Amir Dogar, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Asif, Rana Tanveer, Pervaiz Ashraf, Ahsan Iqbal and Hina Rabbai Khar.
Asked why the meeting was being arranged, Babar Awan said the emerging situation in Afghanistan had become a matter of concern and almost all parties’ heads had in their speeches in the budget session talked about the situation that would arise after the withdrawal of US troops from the war-torn country.
Responding to a question, he said not only Afghanistan, other security-related matters would also be discussed in the meeting.
Earlier, at a press conference on Monday, Babar Awan said the parliamentary leaders would be briefed on the situation at borders due to the prevailing circumstances in Afghanistan.
It is for the first time during the present PTI government that officials of security forces and spy agencies will update legislators on security issues. A source in the PPP said Mr Bhutto-Zardari would attend the briefing as he had called an internal meeting of his party on June 30 to get updated on the Afghanistan issue.
PPP leader Farhatullah Babar welcomed the military’s briefing on security matters. “In view of the situation unfolding in Afghanistan, it is important that those who call the shots in security matters come out clean and answer questions. But interaction with parliamentarians should be more than a monologue or a one-sided ball point presentation. It should be a serious dialogue with question-answer session on pet security theories pedalled by the security establishment,” he added.
A senior PML-N leader said on condition of anonymity that party president Shehbaz Sharif would also attend the meeting.
Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2021